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Island park planned in Hudson River | TribLIVE.com
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Island park planned in Hudson River

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This artist's rendering shows a proposed park and performance space to be known as Pier 55, in the Hudson River on the lower west side of New York. The park, to be largely funded by media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, would be built on an undulating platform jutting about 180 feet into the river. (AP Photo/Heatherwick Studio via Risa Heller Communications)

NEW YORK — A futuristic park known as Pier55 will likely rise soon over the water off Manhattan’s Lower West Side, largely funded by a billionaire neighbor, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.

The 2.7-acre vegetation-covered public park and performance hub — about the size of two football fields — will stretch 186 feet into the Hudson River, connected to the land by two pedestrian bridges.

With a construction price tag of $130 million, the park will be funded primarily by a public-private partnership set up by media mogul Barry Diller, who pledged $113 million, said Hudson River Park Trust, a nonprofit devoted to developing green space along the Lower West Side. The rest will come from the city and the park trust.

Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, and his fashion designer wife, Diane von Furstenberg, have offices nearby. The couple have helped transform the once-industrial neighborhood as the largest single private donor to the High Line elevated park.

“I know a good deal when I see one,” the mayor said at a press conference. “It’s a great something we need with minimal investment by the city. I think that’s great.”

Architectural renderings of Pier55 show a square, undulating platform that resembles an island floating above the river, supported by pillars shaped like giant golf tees. The site includes parklike areas as well as three performance spaces, according to drawings by Heatherwick Studio, the London design firm commissioned for the project.

“This transcends any other kind of waterfront proposal for converting an old decrepit pier,” said Mitchell Moss, professor of urban planning at New York University.

“In Baltimore, you have an Inner Harbor with hotels and a promenade, in Boston you have an aquarium. There’s sort of a standard set of waterfront projects, but this is far more imaginative and far more powerful than the standard kind of hotel or office complex,” Moss said.

The project has received the support of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo but will have to gain approvals from many state and federal agencies, including the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers, before its projected opening in 2019.

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